So, you’ve decided to add a valuable skill to your C.V. You’re beginning the process of learning to drive. But before you can set foot in my car, and/or put up your L plates, there a few steps to follow. It should be noted at this point that this guide applies to anybody applying for their first learner’s permit for a category B car driving license. To view these steps in detail, please click their titles. The first hint I could probably offer would be to have you credit card at the ready…
Take the Driver Theory Test (D.T.T.)
The Driver Theory Test (D.T.T.) was introduced as part of the Irish Driving Test system in 2001. It is designed to assess the general road safety and motoring legislation knowledge of any person applying for a first time driving permit, in any category.
The test is taken via a computer terminal at any one of 41 locations around the country. You book a test using this link from the D.T.T. website. You can also download an application form here, or you can call the Driver Theory Testing Service by phone on 1890 606 106. This number is reachable Monday – Friday between 8a.m. and 6p.m.
Buy or borrow the official Driver Theory Test CD and book set. Both items can be purchased individually or as a set through The Driver Theory Test Service website or any good book shop. It’s a good idea to use the CD as you will be doing your theory test on a touchscreen computer and the CD helps you to prepare for the format of the test itself.
When you turn up to do your theory test you must have photo ID with you.
Acceptable Forms of Identification
National ID’s from the following countries
- An employee or student identity card
- Garda National Age Card
- A Convention travel document with the name and photo of the holder
- A bank or Savings Bank book
- A cheque book
- A cheque card
- A credit card
- A credit union membership card
- A book issued for payment of social welfare allowances, benefits or pensions, a free travel card or a signing on card by the Department of Social Community and Family Affairs
- A medical card issued in the State
- A birth certificate
- A marriage certificate
- An Immigration Certificate of Registration issued by the Garda National Immigration Bureau
The person on duty in the test van will take a photograph of you when you pass. There are 40 questions on the test and you must answer 35 of them correctly to gain a passing mark. You will have 45 minutes to complete the test, plus a practice run. On passing the test the operator will give you a certificate, which you must retain.
Complete relevant medical examinations
Everybody is required to undergo an eye test. Contact a local optician and arrange to undertake a test for the purposes of applying for your learner’s permit. After the test your optician will give you a copy of the your test results, which again you must retain. You can download a copy of the Eyesight Report (D502) form here.
You must also have a medical report if…
- You are applying for a driving licence in respect of a truck or bus, licence categories C1, C, D1, D, EC1, EC, ED1 or ED (unless you have previously provided a medical report which is still valid)
- You will be 70 years of age or more on the first day of the period for which the licence for any licence category is being granted
- Any physical disablement likely to affect the ability to drive safely
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Diplopia (ie, double vision), defective binocular vision or loss of visual field
- Encephalitis, Multiple Sclerosis, Myasthenia Gravis or hereditary diseases of the nervous system associated with progressive muscular atrophy and congenital myotonic disorders
- Diseases of the peripheral nervous system
- Trauma of the central or peripheral nervous system
- Cerebrovascular disease
- Lesion with damage to spinal cord and resultant paraplegia
- Mental disturbance due to disease or trauma of, or operation upon, the central nervous system
severe mental retardation
- Psychoneurosis or personality disorders
- Serious diseases of the blood
- Any disease of the genito-urinary system likely to affect the ability to drive safelyYou suffer from any of the disabilities or diseases specified in the list below:
- You are a regular user of drugs or medication that would be likely to make your driving unsafe
The Medical Report (D501) form is available for download here, and must be completed by a registered medical professional. You must also sign this form in his/her presence.
All persons presenting themselves for medical examination for driver licensing purposes should be assessed on the basis of the minimum standards outlined in the “Medical Aspects of Driver Licensing – A Guide for Registered Medical Practitioners“. This booklet outlines the minimum standards of physical and mental fitness for driver licensing purposes provided for in the Licensing of Drivers Regulations.
It should also be noted that a person who suffers from serious arrhythmia which has at any stage resulted in loss of consciousness is particularly advised to consult his/her doctor before applying for a licence.
Who cannot apply for a licence?
A person who is dependent on or regularly abuses psychotropic substances, ie, those that can induce mood changes or distorted perceptions, is barred from holding any learner permit or driving licence.
If you have any doubts about your physical or mental fitness to drive you should consult a doctor. The medical report must specifically refer to your eyesight, hearing, general physique and your general medical condition insofar as it is relevant to your ability to drive. This is the case regardless of whether the report is needed for age reasons or for illness/disability reasons.
Obtain your learner’s permit
Now that you have completed your eye test, you are ready to travel to the Motor Tax office (in Ennis this is located here and here in Galway) with the following pieces of paperwork and €15 to apply for your learners permit.
Paperwork needed to apply for learners permit
- Theory Test Certificate
- Eye Test Report
- Identification document (see above)
- 2 Passport photographs
It takes about 10-14 business days for the Motor Tax office to issue you with your learners permit, and once you have received it, you may begin your driving lessons with an Approved Driving Instructor (A.D.I. [link])
[/expand] Pick an Approved Driving Instructor (A.D.I.) to complete your Essential Driver Training (E.D.T.) course
Your logbook is an important document which you should keep safely and bring with you for each of your E.D.T. lessons. Your A.D.I. will stamp your book and sign off on each lesson as you complete it. As this book is the official records of your lessons, training and progress and is required to be with you when you take your driving test, you are obliged to keep it safe.
12 lessons will however, not be enough. You are expected to find a sponsor to aid you in learning how to drive. Your sponsor will be a person who has held a full driving license for at least two years. With your sponsor you should have as much practice as possible between your E.D.T. lessons. Your logbook has space within it to record your practice sessions with your sponsor. If you are not in a position to have practice time with your sponsor then you will need to book more lessons with your A.D.I.
Once you have completed your 12 E.D.T. lessons and your A.D.I. feels you are ready she/he will advise you to apply for your driving test. To fully meet the conditions of application, you must also have held your learners permit for a minimum of 6 months.
If you have a disability, you must notify the R.S.A. when you are applying for your test as they will need to be notified so as to make any special arrangements for you that may be necessary (i.e. a sign interpreter for the hard of hearing). You will also need to notify the R.S.A. if English is not your first language and you will require an interpreter for the oral of the test. Your driving instructor may not act as your interpreter, and said interpreter may not accompany you during the practical part of the test.
Sometimes tests are cancelled either due to weather conditions or unforeseen circumstances. If for any reason the R.S.A. need to cancel your test they will do their very best to provide you with an alternate date as soon as possible. The R.S.A. keep a webpage updated with any severe weather warnings here.Cancelling your test
To cancel your test, you can contact the R.S.A. in any of the following ways, quoting your driving test reference number:
Road Safety Authority,